aSchilling hears from captive son
Today at 4:15 p.m., Radio Mindanao called me up and offered me an opportunity to speak with my son, Jeffrey Schilling.
I was able to talk with him through the talk show host over live Radio Mindanao. I am so relieved to have heard my son’s voice directly and clearly.
He is alive and well. He told me that he loves me and I told him that I love him.
He also asked me to take care of his wife Ivy, which I will do.
He wants the Philippine Government to reopen negotiations.
I am hopeful that a peaceful resolution can be found. But I understand the Philippine Government’s position at the time is to continue the military assault unless the hostages are released. Then they would reopen negotiations. I support whatever will work to bring my son home safely.
I told Jeffrey that many people are praying for him and his well being. He says he is alive and well for now.
I hope and pray that a resolution to this crisis will come soon. I ask Abu Sabaya to release my son, Jeffrey, unharmed.
Develop along transit corridors
Your reader, Peter Teicher, postulates that, in general, the smaller and shorter the development the more desirable its “impacts” and ambience. In areas of exclusively single family homes, far from transit and commercial districts, this may be true. And the city’s zoning ordinance reflects this. But on busy commercial corridors, within walking distance to transit and jobs, the city is better served by denser development and bigger buildings.
Denser development on transit corridors furnishes a number of social, economic, and aesthetic benefits that single-use, single story dwellings and businesses can never provide.
• More affordable housing. My firm has built or is building more than 50 low income residences that would never have been built, but for the densities of the buildings they are in.
• More housing accessible to the disabled and elderly. The projects I build are also among the few fully accessible housing developments in the city.
• Improved neighborhood retail opportunities and amenities. The additional customers and the commercial spaces provided in dense mixed-use buildings furnishes affordable space for small, neighborhood serving businesses.
• Improve the safety and security of the area. The high level of crime in this part of Berkeley – last February, in one night there was a shooting and
a knifing within one block of the proposed project at 2700 San Pablo – is, in part, owing to the lack of development in this area, and the attendant “eyes on the street” that help to keep a neighborhood secure.
• Less car dependency and improved envirornmental conditions. Infill development on transit corridors relieves pressure from developing greenfields in surrounding areas, and also serves to locate housing closer to jobs, thereby reducing traffic in the immediate area.
For these reasons and others, my developments have consistently been endorsed by The Sierra Club, Urban Ecology, Eco-City Builder, and many others.
• Improved tax base for other city services. The construction of multi family housing on developable land in the commerical corridors adds significant property tax and sales tax revenue to the city coffers. On the property I developed at 1910 Oxford St. University Ave. the assessed value of the property went from $400,000 to $5.7 million, and net increase of $5.3 million to the city’s tax rolls.
In short, there are significant benefits to the development of infill projects that, I believe, Mr. Teicher, chooses to ignore. The “oversized” project hecriticises – at 2700 San Pablo – is in fact within the limits of the zoning for the area – which, is not a single family neighborhood, as he avers, but rather a mix-used district allowing commercial, residential,and industrial uses.
Development like this will improve the city, and protect existing neighborhoods.
Panoramic Interests, Berkeley
Build accessible housing
I would like to support Dina Valicenti’s letter (September 21) advocating 2700 San Pablo Avenue as an excellent site for apartments, and her appreciation for the developers’ intention to augment the availability of affordable and wheelchair accessible housing.
As a neighbor to the proposed project and one who must live with its potentially looming scale, I would also point out, however, that housing stock – affordable, commercial, and wheelchair accessible – can also be expanded with a building that conforms to both the letter and the spirit of the West Berkeley Area Plan and does not exceed three stories.
The surrounding neighborhood, which continues broadly to oppose the insensitive scale and height of the developers’ proposals presented so far (designs of 4 and 5 stories), is likely to welcome warmly projects that conform to the Plan’s goals and policies, which were carefully crafted to guide the future of West Berkeley, and that contribute to the well being and quality of life of all residents, new and old – and yet to be.
Answer: build more housing
In Berkeley, How do you get more housing, without building at a lower cost?
Or how to pull rabbits out of a hat you don’t even have.
It’s never ending the complaints about housing. There’s not enough - really? It’s actually a fairly simple issue of supply and demand.
You got 45 people in line trying to fill out an application for a two bedroom apartment and, well, only one person is gonna get it. Where do the other 44 people go?
Even the most Marxian followers of economics understand the issues of supply and demand. If there isn’t enough housing, well there just isn’t enough. When market forces come to bare the owner of said units will charge as much as someone is willing to pay to live there - if allowed to. Yes, this is exploitive but so what. It’s a result of one and one thing only - NOT ENOUGH HOUSING.
We can have the most aggressive rent board in place going after those nasty landlords and trying to keep the evictions to a minimum, rents as low as possible, but does this solve the housing problem? Obviously not. If no one wants to rent a place the owner will lower the price (they have to if they want to rent it). If everyone wants to rent this place the landlord will raise the price as high as possible.
But who cares about this. Pricing isn’t even the factor. The real issue is too many people seeking too few units. It doesn’t matter what they cost. If you want to live in this town - get in line!
The magical answer is - abra cadabra! - build more housing. Many noted political figures in this Great-Town-of-Berkeley have advocated for more and more and more low income housing, further restrictions on rent increases, more controls on initial pricing, to some how, miraculously, create lower cost housing (as a fact, there is absolutely no information on controlling rents in ANY city in the United States that has, in any way, reduced the vacancy rate, reduced rent, or improved the housing stock for citizens of these cities. In fact, it generally has made the problem worse for poor people with limited incomes).
We need to change zoning, improve and streamline the building process to add more housing stock to the city of Berkeley - and yes help out folks with lower incomes. Virtually all of San Pablo Avenue is one story store fronts. Solano Avenue, University, parts of Shattuck -much the same. They all have great potential for more housing with easy public transit access. This whole area could be gradually transformed into a variety of 2 to 4 story multi-use buildings, adding vitality and street life to each neighborhood including restaurants, cafes, produce stores, book stores - and hey my favorite– pubs!
This Town and the battles that get fought are full of contradictions. More housing but no more building, but low cost housing, but tight rent control and an extremely scrutinizing Spanish-Inquisition-Style review process, where everyone’s opinion - no matter how factually based, has major impact on the final decision. This city, in many ways is very conservative, reactionary and very naive in its perceptions of what can work and add to the vitality of community.
This commentary comes from a long-time-Berkeley-Resident who lives 3 blocks from San Pablo Avenue and can go to REI, Walgreens and Pyramid Alehouse while walking my dog!
Low density dwellers should not spout towers
Richard Register’s long-winded personal attack on Carrie Olson moves me to point out that he himself lives in a low-density neighborhood under no threat of high-rise Manhattanization.
Density has its merits if and only if we have, among other things, a system of sensible, efficient, and affordable transportation, which is unfortunately many, many years away. When I see Richard Register on the transit frontlines (which I don’t) I’ll know he’s about something besides greed.
I always enjoy his “highrise to open space” equations, too. I have a suggestion. Put the open space and the transit systems in downtown first,
Mr. Register. Then we’ll talk about the highrises.
in the Berkeley Daily Planet on September 16, 2000
We, members of Citizens for Responsible Fire Protection, would like to respond to the article of September 16, 2000, regarding the construction of a new fire station in the hills. It is unquestionable that a new fire station is needed. What we do question is whether or not the City’s plan actually meets the extraordinary demands of disasters such as wildfires and earthquakes. The voters approved the funding the City seeks to use for this project in 1992. After eight years we should all be certain that what we are accepting is the best possible solution. After all, it is our money, our homes, and our lives.
First we would like to address the misinformation put forth by those interviewed:
1. The City cannot hold discussions with the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) as to what features they want in the station because EBMUD has taken the position that the station will in no way serve the Water District. EBMUD is willing to sell the land to Berkeley provided that the City first meets certain conditions. The Park District is only being asked to house one engine and one crew there for a period of 10 to 30 days per year.
2. The size of the station will not depend on neighborhood input as Mr. Kamlarz suggests. Rather, the City’s Request for Proposal for the preparation of the Environmental Impact Report, dated June 27, 2000, specifies a 7,500 sq. ft. building with a 2,500 sq. ft. apron, to be built on the western portion of the site
3. The statement as to the outcome of the validation suit is also incorrect. The court will rule whether or not Berkeley’s plan meets the multi-jursidictional (and other) requirements of Measure G, which was passed by the voters in 1992. The court cannot change the language of Measure G to allow for a single jurisdictional facility. The City wants the court to agree that the minimal presence of the Park District meets the Measure G requirements for a jointly funded multi-jurisdictional facility.
4. Several statements by Councilwoman Betty Olds are also contain incorrect information:
a. Station #7 was built in 1939, not 1920. Ms. Olds is correct when she states that this facility is in shocking condition. Why has its owner, the City of Berkeley, allowed this essential facility to deteriorate?
b. The response time to Park Hills cannot possibly be reduced by three minutes because the current response time is barely two minutes! Further, any decrease in response time to one area means an increase in response time to another area.
c. According to Mr. Steve Boeri, the head of EBMUD’s Real Estate Department, the land in question cannot be turned over to private developers. This contradicts the statement of Councilwoman Olds that developers were lining up to grab the land and build multiple homes on it if Berkeley did not use the property for the proposed fire station.
d. The property in question is nowhere near an acre in size. According to the June 27, 2000 EIR proposal request the lot occupies 19,180 sq. ft. That is less than one-half an acre.
5. Hills resident Barbara Allen is incorrect when she says that this will be the only fire station east of the Hayward fault. Both the Park District and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory have facilities east of the Hayward fault. The current station #7 is east of the Hayward fault.
Measure G was drafted in the summer of 1992 in the wake of the Oakland hills firestorm. At that time the City Manager prepared a report, dated July 21, 1992, for the Mayor and City Council outlining what was needed:
…”a multi-jurisdictional facility” with”storage for 9-10 emergency firefighting vehicles.” The report called for the station to be sited on”property owned by the EBRPD located at Grizzly Peak, Centennial and Golf Course Road.” Such a location”would provide for quick emergency response into the wildland/urban intermix areas of Berkeley, Oakland, UC, and EBRPD.” Another City document Report-New Hills Fire Station dated January 28, 1994, calls for a station”with an area of 13,000 sq. ft., housing a crew of 15 in any shift.” A helipad was considered”highly desirable.”
The land is still available, there is a new administration in Oakland that should be approached along with the California Division of Forestry (CDF), the University, and the Park District. The threat of wildfires and earthquakes has not diminished. What has diminished drastically is what the City proposes to offer us as protection. We urge the City to re-examine its plans and give us the protection we voted for in Measure G-an additional multi-jurisdictional station in the hills and the repair and seismic retrofitting of Station #7, a facility that has met our daily needs so well for over 60 years.
Finally, we urge our neighbors to give up somewhat selfish concerns of wanting something close to them rather than what is best for the entire hill area.
Andrea Cukor for Citizens for Responsible Fire Protection
Aweek ago you printed a story about a 11 year old shot by a Modesto swat
team.The boy,Alberto Sepulveda was killed and the police have tried to
say it was a accident.No major newspaper ran half the story that you
did.None of the major newscasts televised this important story.Thank you
very much for informing the public on stories like this,and I hope this
will be an ongoing part of your newspaper.My congradulations.Thank
Thanks for covering NAB protests
Fri, 22 Sep 2000 11:54:37 -0700
Kudos to the Daily Planet for actually covering the protests taking place
during the NAB convention in SF. I have not seen coverage of the protests on
any of the local news stations. It just goes to show that everything the
protestors are saying about having no access to fair media is true.
Independent newspapers like the Daily Planet and Public Access television
stations like Berkeley Community Media are so important in our society today
so people can actual say what’s on their mind and get their message out.
Keep up the good work.
Berkeley Community Media
The daytime phone number where I can be reached is 415-356-2308